Imagine that you have a project plan which is outstanding and with all the details. It is documented properly with a schedule list that gets the project done on the date preferred by the sponsor. However, now your team started working on this project and it is clear to you that everyone on the team is following their timescales. Also, they are not paying any interest in your creation.

Everyone is trying their best to perform what they can. The members of the team are working long hours so that they can complete the tasks on time but everyone starts to dislike the fact that you are the one who signed them up for the current situation. Soon you will realize that you cannot hold the project for longer as your team doesn’t accept the schedule or the plan.

The signs of warning
● The members of your project team grumble about the timescales.
● Not completing tasks on time.
● Tasks not on the schedule are being completed.
● Pressuring your team members to finish the tasks by the specified dates.
● Making everyone work for long hours.
● The morale of the team is sinking along with the confidence of the team in you.

What will be the consequence if I stay still?

The project will be delayed and tasks will not be delivered on time. Your potential to deliver the product on the commitment of your schedule will be questioned by the Sponsor.
In turn, you start pressuring your team members to speed up the process. You may cut corners and provide a product of low quality that is unfit for the purpose.
The morale in your team and their readiness to operate with you will drop. Eventually, they might stop working on all your projects. You will be considered a slave driver as your projects will always be delayed. A good leader must believe in his team. If not, then the project along with your career will be in jeopardy.

The solution

Planning cannot be done by you in a vacuum because it’s your team who will be performing all the tasks related to the project and not you. So, you need to involve your team members in figuring out the objectives of the project along with the time required.
If your schedule and plan are unrealistic, then begin from the scratch and construct new ideas by involving the key members of the team. In overview, a team project planning method must be brought to achieve the following:
● A detailed list of all the tasks needed to deliver the given project.
● Precise timescales for all these.

What should you do?

Make the key team members work out a realistic, new plan together and schedule that in such a way that everyone can agree. Accept the fact that your present plan of work isn’t good and you are required to form a new baseline to track the progress.

Practically, you are beginning to design the project from blotch and you seek their help. Permit enough time to plan the project to finish the following activities.

1. Document all the required tasks: Review the plans and work breakdown structures as a group. The person who does the job will know better about what it involves than you. So, allow them to explain to you what is necessary to complete the task. Is anything missing from the actual plan? How to break down the task into sub-tasks? If possible, delegate the composition of the sub-strategy to workstream leaders in the team.

The main aim here should be to make a detailed list of what is to be worked out to achieve the objectives of the project. Involve your experts to develop the list. It makes them feel more responsible for the deliverables. Hence, they will be more pleased with the overall agenda.

2. Understand the dependencies: When you get the clarity of what has to be done, you have to begin putting the tasks to organize the schedule. Management of dependency is vital here. Involve your experts again to create the dependencies to the schedule. Consider the following details:
● In what order are the tasks required to be completed?
● What are the tasks that could be run parallel?
● What could have started early?
● Who requires another person to have completed before they could begin?
● What has to be completed at the exact time as another thing?
Once you know the orders in which the tasks and the dependencies need to be carried out, you can begin to put in the dates.

3. Create the schedule: Your team might not accept the original schedule created by you. Hence, this time you allow them to give their input. They might have carried out similar projects before unless the project is unique or they are new to it. Provided all their understandings, they should be capable of presenting themselves with some practical calculations for the time frames required for all the planned tasks.

No harm in questioning some dates. As a Project Manager, you must maintain a balance between milestone dates and the dates defined by the team. Work together to achieve the target on time. Also, include some contingency time in the schedule. This helps you to work things out if you think that there is some uncertainty in the assessments.